PDHblog This is a place for members of Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i to express their thoughts, hopes and exasperations about political happenings.

August 30, 2006

anyone else?

Filed under: Impeach,SHAPES platform — frosty @ 11:33 pm

while scanning my favorite news links in an attempt to catch up on some of my news, i came across this video link from msnbc. i have to admit that i’m a bit surprised to be posting anything positive about the coverage on msnbc, but this video is powerful and impressive. how often these days do you see the news media directly attacking this administration and its tactics? not often from my experience. this guy deserves some recognition and praise.

check out Keith Olbermann rip Rumsfeld a new one! – mr. Olberman reminds his viewers the nature of a democracy is to question its leaders. he refers to secretary Rumsfeld’s address to the American Legion this week. you can see secretary Rumsfeld’s speech here.
my point is, why aren’t others jumping on this band wagon? why aren’t we hearing similar monolouges about the arrogance and short-sidedness of this administration?
and as a result of this lack of good journalism in our country, i remind to remind everyone to be ever vigilant, continually skeptical of the information you take from network news sources. always question those in power.

August 26, 2006

Playing to the Crowd

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — BobSchacht @ 10:16 pm

Maka Fox wrote an article in the Honolulu Weekly August 23-29, “Playing to the Crowd,” about the Case-Akaka debate. (I can’t find the article on the Honoweekly’s website to refer to.) The article basically takes Case to task for whining after having gotten Akaka to agree to a debate. Case also comes in for criticism for wanting the negotiations public, rather than allowing AARP to conduct the negotiations in private, which is usual. The point is that Case is playing to the crowd with a bit of political theater. Will he score points, or only come across as a whiner?

But the best observation was in the opening paragraph:

Political campaigns are a form of theater. Each camp works to create a series of moments, a collection of impressions that casts its candidate as the better choice. The goal is to make each moment appear authentic, to lend a patina of reality to the artifice. Rumor has it that occasionally, in that search for realism, a candidate will say something that is actually true. Somehow, the assumption goes, the voters will mine enough of those nuggets to cast a vote.

The first three sentences are astute, but the last sentences are rather limp. I think the Case campaign is all about impression-management, which is what Rovian Republicanism says to do if the issues are against you. After all, it has been clear for some time that Case will not campaign on the issues. He encourages the impression that Akaka is an old codger on his last legs, and that he, Ed Case, is pretty, young, strong, young, and photogenic (and, by the way, youthful and full of vim and vigor).

So I fear that Case will try to make the “debate” not about issues, but about who makes the better impression. My hope is that the AARP-managed questions will be more revealing on the issues, and that the audience will get the impression(!) that Sen. Akaka is more to be trusted on the issues.
Bob Schacht

August 24, 2006

Senate District 9

Filed under: HI Politics — rachel @ 11:31 am

An article in Advertiser’s ongoing focus on legislative races focuses on Senate District 9 today. This one is close to my heart since I live in the district and am a big supporter of current Senator Les Ihara Jr.

The article points out that there are 2 Democrats and 2 Republicans running in this race. The two R’s have both run for office before, and I know at least one of them continues to do so in order to make sure that voters will alway have a choice and the seat does not go un-contested. I think that is commendable. What is not mentioned, is that one of the D’s was an R until recently. Perhaps that is not important to many Hawai‘i voters… but it is important to me. Many say that R & D mean different things in Hawai‘i than they do in the rest of the country since the D’s have “been in charge” for so long and are entrenched in the “machine”. Along with that, many say that in order to have a chance to win in Hawai‘i politics, one must run as a D. Perhaps I am an idealist, but I still believe that the fundamental values put forth by the two dominant parties are important and do distinguish them from one another. Simplistically — Dem’s tend to stand for the common good, looking out for workers’ rights and standing up for the down-and-out while Repub’s stand up for the free market and encourage those down-and-out to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. (Yes, I am a partisan D and proud of it.) Anyway, it always makes me wonder when a politician changes parties. Do they really believe in the values put forth by the party they belong to for the given moment? Does that mean they are simply opportunistic? Is that ok?

Randall Yee is resigning from his current position as chair of the Board of Education to run against Les Ihara. He is the son of former legislator Wadsworth Yee, who was a longtime leader in the Republican Party. In the Advertiser article, Yee criticizes Ihara:

Yee said another reason he’s running is because he believes someone who has been in the Legislature as long as Ihara should be chairing powerful committees and introducing major legislation.

“There has not been a lot of evidence” of either, Yee said. “I guess it is my feeling that I think that our district should have someone that is going to do more.”

I believe Les Ihara is one of the few legislators that I can really be proud of. He has always run grassroots campaigns where he refuses to accept any donations over $200. He has been a long-time proponent of comprehensive public financing of elections. He has been a champion of ethics in government bills. Perhaps these are not hot-button issues that get voters excited, and maybe Yee doesn’t consider them “major” legislation because they are not often supported by the majority of his peers. However, I believe they are very important pieces of legislation and I am glad that Ihara has been there fighting for them. Perhaps he is not chairing a major committee because he chooses to continue to fight for what he believes in and stand up for his constituents rather than selling out to industry as many of his peers do. I wish there were more legislators like Les Ihara.

One more comment about the Advertiser’s election series… I am really glad they are doing it; the articles can be a good way to get information out. Their sidebars are a decent summary of who is running in each race. HOWEVER, they never put party affiliation in the sidebar! I think this is a very significant and important omission. No, I don’t want people to blindly vote along party lines without paying attention to what each candidate has to say, but I think it is important to know which party candidates are affiliated with. When each of us picks up our ballot for the primary election, we are only allowed to fill in bubbles for ONE PARTY. Every election, many ballots are spoiled because people will try to vote for more than one party. Ignoring party affiliation perpetuates that confusion.

More Political Speed Dating

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — rachel @ 10:09 am

Following the successful political speed dating event that we held in conjunction with ADA/Hawai‘i, the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i is organizing a few more similar events.

Oahu “speed dating” Congressional forums:
Candidates vying for the 2nd Congressional district seat are providing the Leeward and Windward Communities with an opportunity to meet them in a new and exciting way!

Monday Aug 28, 6:30-9 pm
Kapolei High School Cafeteria
91-5007 Kapolei Parkway

Wednesday Aug 30, 6:30-9 pm
Windward Community College
45-720 Kea‘ahala Rd. Hale Akoakoa, # 103.

Refreshments will be served!

The Kapolei event will be covered by KHNL TV and the Windward event will be covered by ‘Olelo.

August 23, 2006

Debate format decided

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — rachel @ 1:15 pm

As reported in today’s Advertiser & Bulletin, Akaka & Case have agreed on a debate format. Unfortunately there will be no live audience, but AARP is accepting questions… so send yours in today!


When: 7:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 31
TV Channel: PBS Hawai’i
Sponsor: AARP Hawai’i

Moderator: Gerald Kato, chairman of the University of Hawai’i-Manoa School of Communications

AARP Hawai’i is accepting questions for the candidates suggested by voters. Ideas must be submitted in writing by Monday. The e-mail address is hiaarp@aarp.org, the fax is 537-2288, and the mailing address is AARP Hawai’i, 1132 Bishop St., Suite 1920, Honolulu, HI, 96813.

Gas Cap

Filed under: HI Politics — rachel @ 1:09 pm

There is a decent article in the Advertiser today about the gas cap.

According to Advertiser calculations, Honolulu drivers would be paying $3 a gallon for regular gasoline this week were the price cap still in effect.

Instead the average price for gasoline in Honolulu was about $3.25 yesterday, within a few cents of where it was on May 5 when the gas cap was suspended.

With the cap no longer controlling the market, Hawai’i prices have returned to their pre-cap pattern of remaining high and stable compared with Mainland prices.

I know there were problems with the gas cap, but it seemed fairly obvious that gas prices were at least fluctuating with the national average rather than bumping up and staying there as they always had before… It would have been nice to see an analysis to that effect BEFORE the cap was repealed. Instead, the local media went around interviewing consumers at the pump asking them what they thought about the gas cap. Since prices were high, people expressed their frustration and these polls helped spur the public outcry that led to the repeal of the cap. The problem with polls like that is that the average consumer isn’t paying attention to the intricacies of an issue and may not know enough about the topic to have an informed opinion on it. In this case, I would rather see an analysis by consumer and industry analysts as to whether the cap was working or not than to see how frustrated consumers are.

This is true with most polls that we see in the media – both local and national. I remember a poll taken shortly after we invaded Iraq that asked whether Iraq and 9/11 were connected… a large number of Americans said “yes.” Did that make the association true? No. Just indicated how well of a spin job the Bush administration was doing. It would be better if the media would do its job and help to inform us about an issue rather than reporting opinions from “both sides” without any indication as to which “side” is supported by FACTS.

August 16, 2006

a debate and still he whines….

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — frosty @ 2:40 pm

last night, at long last, senator akaka agreed to a televised debate with congressman case.

i was told this morning of the agreement, but was a bit surprised, so i had to check it out for myself.  its true!  my first thought was that case would no longer be able to complain about not getting a debate; maybe he’d actually start focusing on issues (then i remembered that his positions pretty much suck, and he knows it).  now he’s complaining that the debate comes too late and that some voters will have already completed and mailed absentee ballots.

instead of being pleased that his single-minded campaign actually got what it wanted (in ed’s head i’m sure he thinks he’s the reason there’s going to be a debate), he started complaining again.  immediately.  what’s more, for a man that regularly speaks on HPR, he seems not to think much of PBS hawaii as the television venue for his cherished debate.  i find this slightly amusing.  in his statements during the HPA forum, he more than hinted at the fact that senator akaka was part of the old-boy, big-money network, while he presented himself as a new fighter for the average hawaii resident.

one might think he could use this as an opportunity to further that message, but instead, he continues to spew banalities and whine incessantly about debates and how he’s treated unfairly.  i could list ways in which the senator has been treated unfairly by the hawaii media, but instead let the senator speak to hawaii’s residents and show them why “the right man for the job is the man ON the job.”

August 13, 2006

Gary Hooser set to “Crash the Gates”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — BobSchacht @ 9:21 pm

Gary Hooser, Candidate for HI-CD-02, has written a new blog on DailyKos . He proclaims that “like you, I’m mad as hell and am not going to take it anymore.” Furthermore,

As a candidate for Congress in Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District, and hopefully soon as an elected member of Congress, I would like to join my energy with yours in this great movement aimed at “Crashing The Gates”. . . .
I would like to be part of the revolution, a positive revolution that will build and protect our children’s future. I would like to be part of crashing the gates, on the inside casting my vote, launching my voice, and helping to unlock those gates, in support of a new and better America.

“Crashing the Gates” is, of course, a reference to “Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics” (Hardcover), by Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, co-authored by the creator of DailyKos, and advertised on the DailyKos home page. He thus identifies with the Net Roots, inviting its support.

He also lays claim to the heritage of Patsy Mink (although the Patsy Mink crowd is endorsing another candidate, IIRC):

Often I ask myself, what would Patsy do? I know one thing; Patsy would not sit back quietly and just watch. No, Patsy would throw herself into the fray, she would shout from the rooftops and she would fight with vigor the Bush administration that now has a strangle-hold on our country.

Inspired by Patsy Mink’s example, I will work relentlessly for: peace, justice and sustainability.

Accordingly, he considers himself the true bearer of the Patsy Mink tradition.

He claims the distinction of being the most progressive candidate for the seat, citing The Hawaii Chapter of the Americans for Democratic Action, which “has rated my voting record as the most progressive in the legislature. The Hawaii Sierra Club has also given my voting record the very highest score of any Hawaii Senator in the State legislature and the highest of any candidate in this race.”

He also claims the distinction of being “the only candidate who lives in the rural neighbor islands that compose 60% of the district. Many of the candidates running, including the perceived front-runners, do not even live in the district at all.”

You might think that by this point I have quoted his entire post, but not so! There’s more. But these are some of the reasons that I support his candidacy. See his blog at the link provided at the beginning of this artice for the rest of the details. There you will find that a number of people have left comments on his post, and Gary has responded to most of them.

Bob Schacht

Kucinich praises Akaka

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — BobSchacht @ 3:02 pm

During his brief visit to Hawaii this past week, Rep. Dennis Kucinich came to Sen. Akaka’s campaign HQ at the Dole Cannery complex on Saturday, August 12, to ‘rally the troops.’ He arrived a little late, but no one seemed to mind, perhaps because of the current disruption of air travel around the country. Despite the late notice of the event, a crowd of 50 or so (my personal guestimate) was waiting for him.

After working his way around the room greeting people, he was called to the podium at the front of the room by staffer Dave Chun, who gave him a brief and barely necessary introduction.

Kucinich’s remarks were narrowly focussed on praising Sen. Akaka (conscientiously “positive” comments), rather than talking about Sen. Case, eschewing any “negative” messaging. He stayed consistently “on message,” resisting questions from the audience about Case and other issues, and turning each question back to Sen. Akaka and his record.

He started out by talking about Sen. Akaka’s vote against the War in Iraq, and used it as an example of Akaka’s “Courage.” This is very good framing and messaging, because it not only focusses on a key voting difference between Akaka and Case, but it also stresses a character issue on which Case is vulnerable. Akaka supporters can use the “courage” meme to frame Akaka’s progressive positions, even when they don’t result in legislation. Furthermore, this framing poses a nice contrast with Case’s capitulation on Republican issues that Case likes to portray as “moderation.” I would nominate Case’s support of the Bankruptcy Bill as a good illustration here.

In other words, this framing places the contrast between candidates on the basis of character, with Akaka the clear winner.

Kucinich also referred frequently to Akaka’s “wisdom,” another character trait that compares favorably with Case. But again, Kucinich only stated the positive; he left his audience to formulate their own comparison with Case, and to draw their own conclusions.

At the end of his main remarks, Kucinich answered questions from the audience. He kept “on message,” refusing to be pulled off into questions that would dilute or change the focus on Akaka’s strengths.

Then it was time for some food, provided by the Akaka campaign.

Sen. Akaka himself arrived later, arriving soon after his flight from Molokai landed. It was a good opportunity to meet both of these long-serving politicians face to face, and even ask them questions.

Bob Schacht

August 11, 2006

Kucinich in Hawaii– On Oahu, Saturday Aug 12th 4pm

Filed under: HI Politics — Tags: — Bart @ 6:49 pm

Dennis Kucinich is in Hawaii, campaigning for Senator Akaka. Wednesday, he spoke at a couple of events on Maui. Thursday, he was working the Big Island.

Dennis will be on Oahu this Saturday, August 12th at 4pm, speaking at the Akaka Campaign Headquarters. The headquarters is located in the Dole Cannery complex, ground floor, next to the theater entrance. You are invited to come and talk with Dennis.

Follow the link to read a Maui News article about the Maui luncheon: (more…)

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